, 20:2042 | Cite as

Structural and functional effects of conventional and low pesticide input crop-protection programs on benthic macroinvertebrate communities in outdoor pond mesocosms

  • Arnaud Auber
  • Marc Roucaute
  • Anne Togola
  • Thierry Caquet


The impacts of current and alternative wheat crop protection programs were compared in outdoor pond mesocosms in a 10-month long study. Realistic exposure scenarios were built based upon the results of modelling of drift, drainage and runoff of pesticides successively applied under two environmental situations characteristics of drained soils of northern France. Each situation was associated to two crop protection programs (“Conventional” and “Low-input”) differing in the nature of pesticides used, number of treatments and application rate. Both programs induced significant direct negative effects on various invertebrate groups. Bifenthrin and cyprodynil were identified as the main responsible for these effects in conventional and low-input program, respectively. Indirect effects were also demonstrated especially following treatments with cyprodynil. Litter breakdown was significantly reduced in all treated mesocosms as the functional consequence of the decrease in the abundance of shredders (asellids, Gammarus pulex) illustrating the link between structural and functional effects of pesticides on macroinvertebrate communities. Recovery was observed for many taxa before the end of the study but not for the most sensitive non mobile taxa such as G. pulex. No influence of the agropedoclimatic situation on the effects was shown, suggesting than the main impacts were associated to inputs from drift. The results confirm that the proposed low-input program was less hazardous than the conventional program but the observed structural and functional impact of the low-input program suggest that further improvement of alternative crop protection programs is still needed.


Pesticides Structural and functional impacts Aquatic macroinvertebrates Litter breakdown 



A. Auber PhD thesis is jointly granted by the Region Bretagne and INRA (Ecology of Forest, Grasslands and Aquatic Ecosystems Division). The present study was financially supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea through its “Pesticides” research program. The authors thank Benoît Real, Igor Dubus and Nicolas Surdyk for their involvement in the definition of treatment scenarios and for the implementation of numerical models. We thank Laurent Lagadic, coordinator of the research program, Caroline Gorzerino, Marie-Agnès Coutellec, Micheline Heydorff, Ana Roucaute and Anthony Ricou for their involvement in the experiments. We also thank Didier Azam, Alphonse Quemeneur, Martine Ollitrault and the INRA Unité Expérimentale d’Ecologie Aquatique et Ecotoxicologie (Rennes, France) technical staff for mesocosm settling and survey and for the implementation of pesticide treatments.

Supplementary material

10646_2011_747_MOESM1_ESM.doc (526 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 527 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnaud Auber
    • 1
  • Marc Roucaute
    • 1
  • Anne Togola
    • 2
  • Thierry Caquet
    • 1
  1. 1.INRA, UMR985 Écologie et Santé des Écosystèmes, Équipe Écotoxicologie et Qualité des Milieux Aquatiques, Agrocampus OuestRennesFrance
  2. 2.BRGM, Service Métrologie, Monitoring et Analyses, Unité Chimie EnvironnementaleOrléans Cedex 2France

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